Science/Biology KS2/KS3: How dinosaurs footprints get made in solid rock

Children work with a dinosaur scientist to find dinosaur footprints that have been fossilised into the rock on a beach.

The scientist explains how the footprints were made inside the hard rock and children model the process using layers of sand and mud.

The scientist explains how the fossilised footprints have then been revealed in the rock after millions of years by erosion.

The timescale for the whole process is discussed.

This short film is from the BBC series, Operation Awesome, in which students explore a range of amazing practical science challenges with presenter Steve Mould.

Teacher Notes

This is an effective introduction to how fossils are formed, and of how rocks change over time.

In this case they are ‘trace fossils’ from the footprints, rather than actual fossilised remains.

Your pupils could carry out an investigation into how rocks become eroded over time, using layers of sand, gravel and soil and observing the effect of water flowing over the top.

They could then suggest other factors which might cause erosion of rocks.

Pupils could explore other examples of fossils from photographs or actual specimens.

They could then go on to make their own fossils out of plaster of paris or similar in moulds.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching science at Key Stage 2 or Second Level in Scotland, or biology at Key Stage 3 or Third Level in Scotland.

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